Tiina Elina Nurminen: In Paradise Together


Tiina Elina Nurminen (b. 1960) discovered the joy of making art early on – at the age of nine. She says, “You can’t always get your thoughts across properly by talking,” and continues, “I make art about events in my life that are important to me. I have been working for a long time on this collection called In Paradise Together. It has all sorts of things from the moment I was born until today. Drawing and colouring and painting and writing are important to me – making angels and lace doilies and teddy bears and people and cats and paradise. Crafting. Making and writing Christmas things and cards.”

For Tiina Elina creating images is a form of communication and self-expression. She is a thinker who wants to bring to light significant events in her life and the ideas that emerge from them. But the works also have another deeper purpose, which is to safeguard and prepare for the future – life after death. The works are a checklist of everything you take along to paradise.

In Paradise Together consists of drawings made on large sheets of thin Japanese paper with different colourful inks and acrylics. All works were made from 2012 onwards. The drawings are highly detailed and colourful – made with the utmost care. Most of Tiina Elina’s works combine text and image in an original cartoon-like way: textual descriptions of the events run among the images, and characters have their names attached to them.

Some of the works depict common occurrences in Tiina Elina’s life, and there too her gratitude for the everyday assistance she receives shines through. The motifs include a school taxi, a dollhouse at Paimio Central Institute, Finnish Adult Education Center of Turku, and the Toivola Service Center.

A more emotional aspect of Tiina Elina’s output consists of portraits of such people as psychologist Mirja Karttunen, her boyfriend, and art instructor Eija Ruoho, who is also her best friend. Tiina Elina includes candid written descriptions related to the themes of her works. In counterpoint to the love and joy suffusing the pictures, the texts describe the challenges in Tiina Elina’s life caused by her special needs. Tiina Elina’s stories are a good example of the cruel way that exclusion and difference accumulate throughout life. In her case, art has served as a path towards paradise.

Tiina Elina works for long periods at a time, totally immersed in drawing from morning till night. The largest works have taken dozens of hours of make. One of Tiina Elina’s favourite places to work is the home of art instructor Eija Ruoho, where many of the works on display were made. Artist Eija Ruoho has been Tiina Elina’s mentor since 1996.

In 2009, outsider-art curator Colin Rhodes selected Tiina Elina’s drawings for the Revealing the Human exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, in which 20 artists from different countries participated. The works in the exhibition were added to the collections of outsider art in Australia.

Tiina Elina Nurminen has participated in several group exhibitions in Finland, including Art Centre Into’s 10th anniversary exhibition at Brinkkala Gallery (Turku 2019), Viidakossa tarkkaillaan exhibition at Gallery Kaarisilta (Helsinki 2018) and Outoja lintuja, kummia kaloja, presenting art by special groups at Gallery ARX (Hämeenlinna 2008). Her work was also shown in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009 (Revealing the Human, Arts Project Australia). She has contributed to several public artworks. In 2014, Tiina Elina was elected Artist of the Year by Kettuki.

Aboa Vetus Ars Nova
The gallery is a collaboration project between the Taidekeskus Into association and Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum. The project will run from April 2023 until January 2024. It will include five solo exhibitions on the museum’s second-floor gallery by artists working at the Into art centre.
The two parties share a desire to do something different. For the museum, it is a great honour to provide the venue for the exhibitions that Into has been working on for years. Cooperation with Into also aims to make outsider art part of the wider field. But the best thing about the collaboration is the exhibitions themselves: these five artists are truly worth the experience!

Upcoming exhibitions from Gallery Into:

4.8.– 17.9.2023 Daniel Hahta

29.9.– 19.11.2023 Miia Ruohonen

8.12.– 14.1.2024 Viljo Pertola


More information

Niina Tanskanen

040 585 4499

Art center Into